Before you plunge into creating content loaded with facts and information, do yourself a favor and turn on a TV.
Watch a few commercials and you’ll quickly notice that very few revolve around logically educating the viewer about a certain product or service. Instead, commercials are created with the primary goal of evoking the viewer’s emotions. Yes, that’s right—large corporations spend millions of dollars creating these hilarious or jaw-dropping advertisements that sometimes never even mention a single feature about the thing they’re selling. Why? Because studies have found that people actually make buying decisions based on emotion more so than they do based on factual information.
While it’s still important to inform your audience, it’s crucial to remember that emotion and reason aren’t mutually exclusive. Always be looking to emotionally engage your audience with your content because, as you can see from watching TV commercials, that is the name of the game for many of the most successful companies in the world.
If you’re unsure about where to start, here are some guidelines on how you should go about creating truly emotion-inducing content that will get people excited about your content marketing.
Identify what emotional chords to strike
It’s not just about conveying emotions, it’s about conveying the right types of emotion. The emotional direction you want to take depends on a plethora of factors. You should weigh each of them carefully in order to figure out what emotional route your content marketing should take. Here are some of the most important factors to help you decide:
If there’s one thing that psychology has taught us, it’s that different types of people resonate with different types of content. If you’re looking to go the funny route with your content, ask yourself what age group you will primarily be targeting. This is because people of different ages tend to have very different senses of humor. For instance, millennials have a far deeper appreciation for jokes that are meant to be utterly absurd or self-deprecating. On the other hand, if you’re targeting an older demographic, more conventional humor like wit and irony might work better.
The point is, it’s important to develop a psychological profile of your audience. What motivates them? What ticks them off? Learn what their deepest pains and desires are. That way, you can reach them emotionally with your personalized content.
Your business: Your industry will sometimes make it obvious what emotional route to take. Obviously, Toys “R” Us wants to create a marketing campaign that gives off a sense of fun and adventure because that’s what the toy industry is all about. Similarly, if your line of business is in selling sports apparel, you’ll most likely want to invoke feelings of inspiration and victory, similar to how Nike and Under Armour do it.
Ideally, the emotions you target are ones that align with your brand strategy. If you’re looking to brand yourself as a premium business that sells high-end products, similar to how Rolex sells expensive watches, you’ll want to convey feelings of class and luxury.
At the same time, your brand should also help you narrow down the field of emotions on your radar. It obviously wouldn’t make much sense for Rolex to relate their premium brand with the emotions of anger or humor. Similarly, Toys “R” Us would never target emotions like sadness or fear when they’re all about happiness and fun.
Consider how you want to popularize your content. Perhaps your goal is to make your content go viral. If so, certain kinds of emotional content are shared and liked more frequently than others. A study done by two researchers at Wharton shows what types of emotion make online content go viral. From looking at the chart below, we see that content producing feelings of awe and laughter seem to work best, with other emotions like joy and amusement being almost as effective.
Different techniques that drive emotional engagement
Now that you’ve identified the types of emotion you want to target with your content marketing, let’s look at various techniques that can help you emotionally engage your audience:
Arguably the most expensive form of marketing, video is also one of the most effective ways of evoking emotion. In fact, a survey done by Animoto found that 4 times as many consumers would prefer watching a video about a product as opposed to simply reading about it.
Here’s an example of a marketing video from Care to Click that plays on our emotions masterfully.
The video begins by showing various problems in the world that are meant to make us upset at and compassionate towards what we see. Then it swiftly transitions over to explaining the solution to these awful problems, making us actually feel in control and able to help. By the end of the video, viewers feel empowered and emotionally connected to the cause, which will make them more likely to take action.
If you’re looking to get your article trending, be sure to include a lot of images. After studying over a million articles, BuzzSumo found that articles that include images every 75-100 words get twice the number of shares compared to articles that have fewer images.
Let’s not forget how color can be used in both our videos and images to help truly immerse audiences in an emotionally-packed experience. Here’s how different emotions relate to different colors:
Credit: The Logo Company
A study has also found that 90 percent of snap judgments made on a product can be based on color alone.
Earlier I mentioned how your brand can dictate the emotional direction of your content. Well, the emotional content you create can also help shape your brand. For instance, GEICO uses its GEICO Gecko marketing campaigns in order to take something as boring as auto insurance and make it funny and entertaining.
If your business is in an industry that might be a bit mundane as well, sometimes associating your brand with an emotion that is seemingly unrelated can be the perfect way to stand out—even if it might seem ridiculous at first glance.
It’s so easy to get sidetracked by SEO tricks and data analytics that content marketers can sometimes forget what’s at the heart of content marketing—emotion. Connect emotionally with your audience and you’ll be able to inspire them to share your content and come back time and time again, eager for more.
Peter Yang dreams about marketing in his sleep. With his vast experience in marketing and human resources, he co-founded a company offering cv and resume writing services. His team of professional resume writers helps guide individuals through the job search process. He also co-founded a company that offers mock interview and interview training. With over 20 years of working experience, he heads the marketing operations of both of these companies and wishes to share what he’s learned with readers at Keap.